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Tashkent, Day 5: Ten out of ten for PRK – and now their women have more world records than China

DPR Korea now has more women’s world records than any other country after Song Kuk Hyang claimed her nation’s second victory of the day at the Asian Championships in Tashkent.

In winning at 71kg, Song made 154kg to take the clean and jerk world record from China’s Liao Guifang. That means that PRK now has 12 women’s world records to China’s 10. Seven of them have been set here in Tashkent.

Song’s success followed victory for Ri Chong Song in the men’s 81kg, where he twice failed with attempts to take Rahmat Erwin’s clean and jerk world record.

Song Kuk Hyang (PRK) – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/

PRK has a 100 per cent record with one more member of its team yet to compete. Its anthem has been played 10 times in five days, and is likely to be heard again on Thursday when Jong Chun Hui lifts in the women’s 76kg.

Song might have had all three world records. She just failed with a snatch attempt of 122kg that would have beaten Angie Palacios’ record, and needed only 5kg more to better Liao Guifang’s best total of 273kg but declined her final attempt. Song made 115-154-269, finishing 33kg clear of Chen Wen-Huei from Chinese Taipei, with Mun Minhee third for Korea.

The 64kg Olympic bronze medallist Chen looked likely to move up the Paris 2024 rankings after starting with a career-best snatch and making her first clean and jerk. But she failed with her last two attempts and 108-128-236 was 7kg down on her best total. Chen remains in eighth place.

Mun made 102-129-231, up 1kg on her best effort in the rankings but more than 10kg short of what she will need to qualify for Paris.

Vanessa Sarno from the Philippines, who is fifth in the rankings, had a bad day. Her fifth-place total of 228kg was 21kg lower than her best effort in qualifying.

Men’s 81kg podium – Photo credit: Isaac Morillas/

In the non-Olympic men’s event, Ri was a clear winner. He started after everybody else had finished in snatch and clean and jerk to make 169-200-369, equalling his best snatch. He failed, for the second time in four months, with two attempts at beating Erwin’s clean and jerk world record.

At the Asian Games Ri got his first record attempt above his head before losing the lift, but not here. As with his second attempt in Hangzhou in October, Ri twice failed to clean it and ended up on his backside.

Second-placed Alexandr Uvarov from Kazakhstan was 26kg behind with a six-from-six 153-190-343. In third was one the world’s busiest weightlifters, Gaygyzyz Torayev from Turkmenistan, who has lifted at six major competitions in 244 days.

The 20-year-old has been on the podium five times, at two IWF Grands Prix, the World and Asian Junior Championships, and now here in Tashkent after making 148-189-337. The only time he finished out of the first three was at the World Championships in Riyadh in September.

Abdollah Beiranvand from Iran, another 20-year-old who finished behind Torayev at the World Juniors, took snatch silver in finishing fourth on total. He made a career-best 154-182-336.

There are four medal events on Thursday, the busiest day of the Championships – women’s 76kg and 81kg, and men’s 89kg and 96kg.

By Brian Oliver